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 CAB Moves on $850k Bond Issue

November 26, 2008 - Following a brief public hearing held at their Nov. 18 meeting, the Charles A. Beard School Board approved two resolutions that will allow the school corporation to go forward with an $850,000 bond issue.

Funds from the bond issue will go to pay a nearly $760,000 debt CAB incurred in 2007 and early 2008 when it failed to make payments it owed to a special education cooperative run by the New Castle Community School Corp. NCCSC sued CAB over the debt in early October, and CAB subsequently agreed to entry of judgment against it in the amount of $757,781.18. In order to avoid interest on the judgment, CAB hopes to have the bond issue finalized and the debt paid before Dec. 31.

Knightstown resident Jim Hope asked the board who was responsible for not making these special education payments when they were due, information that was not publicly shared until just a few months ago. While his question was not answered, Hope said he believed the public should have known about this and that it seemed to him that there had been a cover-up and that someone should be held responsible for the additional costs now being incurred to pay the debt through a bond issue.

Storie, who took over as superintendent July 1, said, as he has before, that it appeared to him that the school corporation simply didn’t have the funds to make the payments, all of which were due before he came to CAB. However, he said there should be money to cover all future bills, and thought the school corporation needs to move forward, resolve the issue, “and see to it that we don’t get in arrears again.”

Dalton, who was one of three new board members who took office July 1, said he agreed with Hope and also believed information about this debt and CAB’s inability to make these payments should have been disclosed. “This is information that should have never been held back,” he said.

Hope also told the board that he thought any additional funds that might be left over from the construction of Knightstown High School should be used to pay down the debt on the facility. Board President Kevin Knott told Hope that the approximately $1.2 million that remains is not available for any use until certain steps are taken in conjunction with the KHS Building Corp., which controls access to the funds.

In other business, the board also voted at last week’s meeting to approve a contract with new legal counsel that runs from Nov. 19 through Feb. 28. Under terms of the contract, CAB will pay Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim a flat fee of $1,500, with that level of compensation being reevaluated by CAB and the firm before the end of February to determine if should be changed for representation beyond March 1.

Knightstown Intermediate School eighth graders Ashley Dean, Alaina Schmidt and Erin Bundy gave a brief presentation to the board about their visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a recent school-sponsored fieldtrip to Washington, D.C. Selected according to scholarship and family connections to either the military or law enforcement, the trio and a fourth student, Jack Adkins, had participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument, photos of which were projected on a large screen at the front of the room.

The board approved on second and final reading an amended policy dealing with purchasing procedures. The board also approved on first reading amendments to policies dealing with special education funding, oversight of student teachers and board member notification of special meetings. An amended policy on students who live outside the district transferring to CAB was tabled until the board’s December meeting to give members a chance to review it.

Storie advised the board that he had applied for two federal grants, including one for $22,847 that would be used to fund professional development for CAB’s certified teaching staff. The second grant was for $25,024, which would be used to help pay for implementation of a new drug testing policy and pay the salary of a part-time counselor to work with students.

Board member Mark Fort said he had people in the community ask him about CAB forming fifth and sixth grade basketball teams, which he said would have no coaching expenses. Storie said he would discuss the issue with school principals to see if something can be worked out.


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